Mary Draper

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Mary Draper (1719–1810) is known for the help she gave members of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Her story is told in Elizabeth F. Ellet's The Women of the American Revolution (1848). Mary Draper was born on April 4, 1719 as Mary Aldis to Nathaniel Aldis and Mary Chickering. She had one sister, one half sister, and one half brother. She was married, and widowed before marrying Moses Draper of Dedham, Massachusetts. They had six children, five boys and one girl. Mary Draper was once again widowed in 1775 at the age of 56 just three months before the battle of Lexington. Her oldest son's name, which was also Moses, joined the Patriot army. He was 31 and had a family of his own. Since she could not have been a soldier even if she chose to do so, she served by giving food and servicing the wounded. Before the war, she housed homeless people. She set out large pans of bread and cheese on a makeshift table set up by the road. She was helped by two neighbor boys to pour large pails of cider into tubs. After her food supply began to run out neighbors helped until the worst of the need had passed. Her daughter, Kate, and her maid helped her to make their own cloth into coats for the Colonial soldiers, sheets and blankets were made into shirts and flannel already made up into her clothes was turned into men's clothing. She also melted family heirlooms for bullets and gave them to the soldiers in war. She died at the age of 91. Mary Draper's view on war was that she wanted to go to war to gain American freedom.


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